Oregano is a peculiar herb. It has an earthy, pungent flavor that’s only paired with certain foods. This herb also takes 3-4 weeks just to form cotyledons. As such, oregano microgreens are much less popular than clover or spinach microgreens. However, the unique flavor helps oregano fill a very specific niche: Mediterranean food!
If you like to cook tomato-based soups and dishes, particularly Italian and Greek cuisine, oregano microgreens need a place in your garden. Their unique, spicy flavor is hard to replace with other herbs, even those also from the mint family. Plus, oregano grown as microgreens is more sweet in flavor than mature oregano.
Oregano greens sprout ghostly cotyledons atop dark-colored stems. These tiny leaves are full of nutrients, particularly antioxidants and dietary fiber. They have excellent antiseptic properties and were historically used to fight various illnesses (including snake bites!).
Though they take longer to grow than other microgreens, micro oregano herbs are absolutely worth it if you like the taste and aroma. In this guide, we’ll cover all the details of growing oregano – and many different types of herbs – as microgreens.
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Growing Oregano Microgreens
They may be less popular choices, but oregano microgreens have the same growing conditions and process as most herb microgreens. If you’ve grown microgreens before, you’ll have no problem getting a harvest out of this herb.
Here are the basic supplies you need to grow microgreens:
- Seeds: organic, high-quality oregano seeds like those from True Leaf Market
- Growing medium: we prefer the fine texture of Epsoma’s seed starting mix or coconut coir
- Light: use a T5 grow light for best results
- Containers: shallow growing trays
- Small weight: up to 5 pounds
- Kitchen shears
- Misting bottle
- Heating mat (optional)
Our favorite microgreens seed company is True Leaf Market. Some of our personal favorites include:
- Greek Oregano Microgreens Seeds
- Common Italian Oregano Microgreens Seeds
- Organic Common Italian Oregano Microgreens Seeds
You can use common Italian oregano seed or experiment with some different varieties. There are plenty of choices with varying tastes. Some of the most popular are Greek, Syrian, or golden oregano. Oregano is often confused with its sister taxa marjoram and nicknamed “wild marjoram” (marjoram herbs are said to taste sweeter). Whichever herbs you choose, get at least an ounce of seeds per growing tray.
Since we harvest microgreens before the roots grow deep, we’ll use shallow trays. 10×20 growing trays are available at most garden stores and online. For each harvest, you’ll need one tray with good drainage holes and one solid tray.
There are a few types of microgreens that need a pre-soaking before planting, but oregano isn’t one of them! The tiny seeds are able to shoot up without extra help from a pre-soak.
We’ll get started by prepping the growing trays. It’s important that excess moisture can drain out, so use the growing tray with holes in the bottom. Fill it near the brim with seed-starting soil or coconut coir (the seeds need a fine texture to germinate in). Smooth out the soil surface and give it a misting of water.
Next, sprinkle your oregano seeds in a thin layer across the soil. Spread them all the way to the edges but make sure the seeds aren’t overlapping too much. Give them another misting of water so they can start to germinate.
Instead of covering the seed with soil, place your second growing tray directly on top of them (both trays will be upright). This will block out all the sunlight and force the seeds to grow strong roots and stems. Set a small weight on top of the cover tray for good measure.
In order to get a lush mat of greens, we need a germination rate of 90%. To help achieve this, you can place a heating mat under the tray. You should also peek under the tray every few days to make sure there’s enough moisture.
It’ll take 5-7 days for your oregano seeds to germinate. After that, give them a few more days under the cover to get really get established in their tray. When the pale green stems are ready for some light, they’ll push up the cover tray – weight and all!
After taking off the cover tray, position your growlight a foot directly above the seedlings. Turn it on for about 16 hours per day to ensure the herbs get enough light. The baby plants will quickly stretch up to the light and unfold their green leaves.
Since it takes so long for the leaves to form, you’ll likely need to water your oregano plant. Instead of watering overhead, which can invite bacteria, add water from the bottom of the tray. Simply add a few inches of water to the tray previously used as a cover and set the microgreens tray instead. Give your micro green herbs 10-15 minutes to absorb water through the drainage holes and soil before removing the tray.
Microgreens are usually harvested just after the cotyledons have opened. For oregano, this will be anywhere from 16-22 days after planting. Harvest the bright green leaves by snipping the stems in bunches. To keep the micro’s taste as fresh as possible, stop watering 12 hours prior to harvesting.
As they grow out of the microgreen stage and into full plants, the mild flavor of these herbs changes. While all taste good, most gardeners prefer to harvest for a certain flavor. We recommend taste-testing your microgreen herbs as they grow. If you do this with your first crop, you’ll know exactly when to harvest everything the second time you grow them.
Unfortunately, these herbs don’t regrow after each harvest. Instead, compost the soil, wash the trays, and replant a new batch.
Right before preparing your micros, wash them in cold water. Make good use of oregano’s flavor and health benefits by adding it to fish, soups, or Mediterranean dishes (it’ll enhance the flavor of tomato sauce). Not only will the micros taste delicious, but they’ll also decorate your cooking when used as a garnish.
To keep your micro stems, leaves, and flavor as fresh as possible, keep them as dry as possible. While microgreens aren’t dried out like normal herbs, they can be wrapped in paper towels and sealed in a container. Stash the greens in the crisper drawer of your fridge and use them up within a week.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the healthiest microgreen?
A: All microgreens have lots of nutrients, vitamins, and health benefits (and flavor!). Among the healthiest are green peas, kale, broccoli, and arugula microgreens. These all have large amounts of Vitamin C, calcium, fiber, and folic acid.
Q: Can herbs be grown as microgreens?
A: Absolutely! Oregano, basil, dill, and many more form excellent microgreens with a delicious taste. They usually have more health benefits, flavor, and Vitamin C than the leaf lettuce in a regular salad mix. Also, chefs usually prefer microgreens because of how they look as a delicate garnish.
Q: What seeds should not be used in microgreens?
A: Most plants that don’t have edible green leaves when mature aren’t edible as microgreens. This includes a good chunk of the Solanaceae family (that includes you, tomatoes!).
Q: How do you grow oregano microgreens?
A: Just like most other seeds! You’ll skip the pre-soak, plant the seeds, block out all sunlight for about a week, and then maintain the green growth until true leaves show up.
Q: How long does oregano take to sprout?
A: These herbs will germinate in 5-7 days. After that, they don’t grow quickly but produce a sweet, light green harvest.
Q: What are the benefits of oregano leaves?
A: Besides their unique flavor, oregano’s bright green leaves are known for their antioxidants and disease-fighting health benefits. Prominent among these is dietary fiber, which will help reduce cholesterol.